Meditation in virtual reality
November 05, 2016
Want to jet off to Australia, Hong Kong, New York or Tokyo? Of course, you do. Unfortunately, daily life generally forces us to sit at a desk from 9 to 5. But a few companies are helping to ease the pain by allowing you to escape from the dreariness of your cubicle. Enter virtual reality.
Whether it’s a viewing device strapped on your face transporting you to Australia or a 360-degree on-location video online, taking a mini journey across the globe has never been easier. Companies, resorts, and museums have developed groundbreaking technology that allows you to have totally immersive experiences ranging from birds-eye views of locations to intense intricate closeups of paintings that you can’t see with the naked eye.
For adventurous folks, Hamilton Island in Australia partnered with Samsung Electronics and Rapid VR to provide three-dimensional, 360-degree interactive vision that gives viewers a feeling of immersion. You can swim with turtles in the Great Barrier Reef and take a helicopter tour over the island.
Expand your mind by exploring new enticing surroundings. Virtual reality meditation your way, at your pace, anywhere in the world you choose. Leave your passport behind. Find the perfect environment to relax, without ever leaving the room.
Rest in many lush meditation environments, custom built to refresh the mind.
Whether you’re searching for more energy, more peace of mind, or to be still in nature, there’s a virtual guided meditation made just for you. And they can be customized to meet your unique desires.
Not in the choosing mood? Let Guided Meditation VR recommend the perfect relaxation technique for you. It’s like a personal trainer for your mind.
Marriott VR Postcards
Last year, Marriott launched its “VRoom Service” collaboration with Samsung; guests could borrow a Gear VR headset and experience three “VR Postcards,” in which tour guides take them a unique locale and explain the significance of the destination. What’s interesting about the VR Postcards is that the narrative adds an interesting layer to the overall experience.
VRoom Service is Marriott’s second experiment in virtual travel, created by Framestore and Relevent – two agencies with the know-how in building VR experiences, but you don’t need to check in to a Marriott hotel to check it out; Gear VR owners could download the VR Postcards through the Milk VR service.
For its YouTube page, German airliner Lufthansa created several 360-degree on-location videos in Beijing, Hong Kong, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. Each 46-minute clip lets you pan around a notable area in each of those cities, such as Wan Chai Street Market in Hong Kong or Lombard Street in San Francisco. You don’t need a VR viewer, although it’s more immersive if you use the YouTube Android app with Google Cardboard viewer.
Google Street View
Without us realizing, Street View in Google Maps has been preparing us for virtual travel for years. The ability to zoom into many parts of the world (as well as inside buildings) at street level, is one its coolest features. Now, with the Google Street View app for iOS and Android and a compatible viewer (Google Cardboard, Mattel View-Master, Zeiss VR One GX), virtual travelers can finally put themselves inside those locations.
Action cam maker GoPro is getting into the VR game in a big way. Its Odyssey uses 16 Hero4 Black cameras to capture an 8K panoramic video, while it’s rumored in some circles that it is developing a consumer-friendly 360 camera. Of course, GoPro’s videos are short of amazing, and its 360-degree ones are no exception. From surfing in Tahiti to riding a BMW bike on the rooftops of Gran Canaria and inside an Indycar over the Golden Gate Bridge. Check out the personal New York City tour with photographer and Instagrammer, Neil Britto. GoPro won’t be the only big camera company getting into VR: Samsung, Nikon, and Ricoh recently announced their 360 cameras, so we can expect to see content from them.
Chances are, most of us will never experience space travel in our lifetime, let alone journey to Mars. Thanks to thousands of images that have been transmitted back to Earth from its Sojourner and Curiosity rovers, NASA was able to put together 360-degree videos and images of what walking on Mars would be like. The most recent panorama comes from Curiosity, from a site known as Namib Dune.
As its name would suggest, Ascape is a VR app that’s dedicated entirely to travel. Available as an app for Android or iOS, and viewable on a phone or VR viewer, Ascape has a bunch of 360-degree video and photo tours – from the Star Wars parade at Disneyland Hong Kong to reindeer racing in Norway – and are neatly categorized (called “collections”). You will need to download each experience, which could take up a chunk of space on your phone.
Littlstar is a VR “cinema network” hosting a variety of 360-degree photos and videos, available on the Web or via its app for Android or iOS. Its aerial and travel categories contain numerous content from around the world, including videos from Discovery and National Geographic. When you’ve looked through all the travel videos, check out the many others, including tech, sports, cars, and fashion.
Like Littlstar, YouVisit lets you experience its content on the Web (through a Web browser or the Oculus Rift) or with a VR headset via its app for iPhone or Android. YouVisit has a variety of interesting travel-related 360-degree photos and videos, from the Ayautthaya temples of Thailand to the Louvre Museum in Paris and helicopter ride over New York City. You can even get onboard the Carnival Breeze and explore the different parts of the cruise ship.
Destination B.C., an agency that promotes tourism in Canada’s British Columbia, launched a virtual reality experience called “Wild Within,” which explores the natural areas of this western province. In the videos, the viewer travels through the Broughton Archipelago of the Great Bear Rainforest, but has the option of taking one of two paths – the coastline or up a mountain. Wild Within was first developed for the Oculus Rift on a desktop, but it’s now available as an app for iOS or Android.
Discovery is one of the major media companies to dive into virtual reality. Last August, it launched its Discovery VR initiative that lets users experience TV shows like Gold Rush, Survivorman, Puppy Bowl, and MythBusters, in an immersive manner. Besides exploring the exotic locales, you can swim with sharks, ski downhill with Bode Miller, or learn to forage for food, for example. Discovery VR content can be watched online, but it’s best via a phone and Google Cardboard or similar viewer, or Samsung Gear VR (via Milk VR).